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CLUB HISTORY
History | Fixtures 1885-2007 | Honours | Records | Colours | Where Are They Now? | Programmes | Miscellaneous | Latest Articles
A CENTURY OF FOOTBALL

As the 20th century dawned Chester F.C were homeless following the loss of the Old Showground to builders in 1899. A new home was found in Whipcord Lane in 1901 and the club won the Combination League in 1909 after finishing runners-up in the preceding 5 seasons. The early 1900s saw the first of Chester's Welsh Cup victories, against Connah's Quay in 1908, (further victories followed in 1933 and 1946). By now the club had moved to the much loved Stadium in Sealand Road which remained home for 84 years until the final game against Rotherham in April 1990.

In 1910 Chester were elected to the Lancashire Combination and after the First World War were founder members of the Cheshire County League which they won in 1922, 1926 and 1927. The appointment of Charlie Hewitt as manager in 1930 saw a concerted effort to attain League status and crowds flocked to the Stadium to see the goalscoring exploits of Salford school master Arthur Gale who scored an incredible 73 goals in 39 League games.

On June 1st 1931 Chester were elected to the Football League, in place of Nelson, and throughout the 1930s never finished outside the top 10 in Division Three North. In 1933 Chester hammered Second Division Fulham 5-0, their finest FA Cup performance, and in 1936 the club achieved their highest League victory, a 12-0 win over York City.

Chester struggled in the years following the Second World War but were well served by stalwarts Ray Gill (a record 406 appearances), Ron Hughes, Eric Lee and Tommy Astbury. In 1964/65 the "Famous Five" forward line of Talbot, Metcalf, Ryden, Morris and Humes scored 116 of Chester's record 119 League goals while, in the FA Cup, the club were narrowly beaten 2-1 by League champions Manchester United after leading at half time.

Promotion from Division 4 was achieved under Ken Roberts in 1974/75. The club also reached the League Cup Semi-Final where they were narrowly defeated by Aston Villa following victories over League champions Leeds United (arguably the club's Match of the Century) and Newcastle United.

The late 1970s saw the emergence of Ian Rush, who became the club's record transfer when he moved to Liverpool for 300,000. Relegation in 1982 was followed by a name change, to Chester City, in 1983 and three years later Harry McNally led the club back into Division 3.

After two seasons in exile at Macclesfield a return to Chester for the 1992/93 season sadly ended in relegation but Graham Barrow took the club straight back up. Kevin Ratcliffe took over as manager in 1995 and led the club through some difficult times culminating in a traumatic 1998/99 season when the club almost folded. During the summer Terry Smith moved in, initially as chairman but later as manager.

Chas Sumner

 

 

 

 

 

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